A/N – Once again, thanks to ScopesMonkey not only for making this better, but for assuring me that Phillip was indeed quite likeable. Thanks!
Sherlock pulls on his scarf, making it tighter around his neck. John glances at him and Sherlock doesn't miss the knowing smirk. He sighs as the light turns and they start to walk.
"I'm not nervous," Sherlock says. He's not.
"Of course not," John says.
"Don't patronise me," Sherlock snaps, allowing genuine annoyance to enter his voice.
John just shakes his head. They walk in silence. They turn the corner and John holds his hand out. Sherlock interlocks their fingers with feigned irritation. It doesn't fool the doctor.
"Thank you for doing this," John says. "I know you don't want to."
"I certainly wouldn't willingly consent to your meeting him alone."
John chuckles and squeezes his husband's fingers. "Of course not," he repeats. Sherlock reaches up to straighten his scarf again. He doesn't miss John's smile.
John pulls him through the door of the restaurant, giving his fingers another tight squeeze before releasing them.
They stop in the doorway and look around. Sherlock spots Phillip sitting in a table on the right side and is about to point him out when he stands.
"John!" He waves and Sherlock watches his husband's face light up with genuine excitement and interest. Not true affection though - he feels a flash of relief at that.
Sherlock trusts John; he doesn't trust emotions. What if John spontaneously realises that he still as feelings for Phillip? As he watches John he realises that is not going to happen. He's pleased by this.
The doctor brushes his hand over Sherlock's then he moves towards the table. The detective smiles to himself, knowing that John did it deliberately. Sherlock works to suppress the distaste as John and Phillip hug. It turns his stomach to see someone else touch his husband. He plasters a pleasant smile on my face as John pulls back. The doctor wraps his arm around Sherlock's waist and gestures to him.
"Phillip, my husband Sherlock Holmes." John looks up at his husband, "Sherlock, my old friend Phillip Hannover."
Old friend, Sherlock notes the terminology but he still feels it is inaccurate.
Sherlock holds his hand out, surprised to see a smile of genuine interest on Phillip's face. He hadn't quite believed that his husband's ex-lover had been interested in meeting him. He had been wrong.
"Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Holmes." His accent is clearly English in origin, but it is tainted, weakened by years abroad. Sherlock can clearly pick out the hint of New Zealand coming through.
"Sherlock," the detective responds. Phillip nods and gestures to the table for them to sit. John takes the far seat and Sherlock moves in next to him. Phillip sits across from Sherlock and settles his elbows on the table.
"Oh, before I forget," Phillip says suddenly. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the silver chain with the two tags hanging from it. Sherlock looks to John as the doctor reaches out to take them. He smiles at them for a minute before handing them to Sherlock.
"Here you go. You've got a spare set now." The detective takes them, puts them over his neck and drops them beneath his shirt. He looks up at Phillip to see if there is any judgment or humour there. There isn't, just curious interest, perhaps understanding.
He offers Sherlock a smile, than clasps his hands together. "Well, to be completely truthful," Phillip says, "I was so excited when John told me that you were available to join us. I'm fascinated by John's blog entries about you and by your website. Your career is amazing."
His smile increases his attractiveness; Sherlock would classify it as charming. It's very friendly and welcoming and changes his whole face.. It's obvious why this man was able to pull John out of a dark place. Phillip Hannover is the type of person who makes everything surrounding him a little brighter. Sherlock can tell the man is rarely angry and, based on the lines around his eyes and mouth, laughs quite frequently.
"Even your experiments, I haven't been in a lab since uni and you have one set up in your kitchen. Amazing."
Sherlock smiles despite himself. John has always accused him of being susceptible to flattery.
"Your deductive abilities, did you teach them to yourself or is it something that you've just always done?"
Sherlock turns to his husband, John is sitting back in the chair, arms crossed. He has the look on his face that he gets when Sherlock has been particularly brilliant. Sherlock has learned to identify this as pride. John is proud of him. It makes him feel warm inside as he turns back to Phillip and starts to explain.
"The vast majority of it I have trained myself to do. However, intellect is obviously something to which I was predisposed."
"Obviously," Phillip says and looks to John. Sherlock glances at his husband and sees that John is still happy and slightly amused. Phillip stares at him for another second before sitting back in his chair. "Fascinating. I'm going to ask you a question, but please feel free to say no. I really don't intend for it to sound like I'm asking you to do a parlour trick. I, well, reading John's blog, and maybe he's biased," he looks to John and offers him a smile. "But he described how you read people. Can you give me a demonstration?"
Sherlock frowns and then looks to John. His husband shrugs slightly, leaving the decision up to him. Sherlock sits back and looks at Phillip. He examines him for a moment and determines that he is genuinely interested. He isn't doing this to make fun of Sherlock.
"The woman over my right shoulder, pink blouse, black trousers." Phillip looks over his shoulder and Sherlock notices the slight movement of John's head as his husband looks as well. Phillip sees her and nods. "She is trying to seduce the man on her left. When she speaks to him she turns slightly in her chair. She traces the collar of her shirt focusing on section that is between her breasts. She also keeps pushing her hair off her face so she is confident enough to believe that her physical attractiveness is enough to please him. He is not interested in her, but in the man across the table from her. They - the two men - are sleeping together."
Phillip gasps out a laugh and looks at Sherlock. "In addition, she is recently divorced. There is still a line on her left finger, but it is not as pronounced as it once was. She's been on holiday recently and become very tan."
"Brilliant," Phillip says sitting back in his chair. His eyes go wide with amazement. "Absolutely fucking brilliant!" Sherlock preens at having impressed Phillip. "How did you get all of that though? Was it just in the few seconds it took you to walk over here? I mean, well, they're behind you." He holds up a finger as if to indicate which direction 'behind him' was.
Sherlock opens his mouth to answer, but John starts to laugh. They both look at him and he has an elbow on the table, burying his eyes into the hand. Phillip looks confused, but Sherlock understands. A second later John holds up his other hand and points to the area behind Phillip. "There's a mirror behind you," John says still chuckling.
Sherlock frowns at not being able to reveal his secret. Phillip turns immediately and spots the mirror, when he turns back Sherlock can see the slight redness in his cheeks. He's slightly embarrassed that he didn't realise that.
John starts to laugh harder. After a moment Phillip starts to laugh too. Sherlock watches the two of them fight to gain control over it, feeling left out of a joke. John reaches over and grips Sherlock's wrist.
"I'm sorry. Just, we had a friend at uni who didn't seem to understand what mirrors did. Long and truly not funny story." Phillip continues to chuckle across from them, but John offers Sherlock a pacifying smile. The doctor is very aware that Sherlock doesn't like to feel excluded.
"I can't believe I'd forgotten about…" Phillip's phones rings and he looks towards his pocket. "I'm sorry, Ken is supposed to call me about some paperwork on selling our house." Both Sherlock and John nod as Phillip stands.
"Hi honey," he answers as he heads to the door.
Sherlock turns to glare at John "Why do we not use endearments with each other?"
John starts to laugh again. "I don't know, would you like to try some, sweetheart?"
Sherlock snaps his head around, unable to hide the look of distaste. "No," he says, "Apparently not." John laughs some more.
They sit in silence for a moment, before Sherlock checks the mirror to make sure Phillip is still outside. "I can see why you find him appealing. He is very attractive and charming and appears to be of passable intelligence."
"He is," John says and Sherlock glances over to see his husband admiring him. John leans forward, placing his arm across the back of Sherlock's chair. "I still pick you," he says leaning in to place his lips against Sherlock's. It is quick since they are in public, but it settles the last bit of uncertainty in Sherlock's mind.
"Get a room, boys," Phillip says as he walks up behind them. John chuckles and pulls away, and Sherlock manages to not be offended.
Phillip takes his seat and looks back and forth between them. "House sold! Kenneth will be here in a week. I can't wait. These last three weeks have been horrendous. I am missing my man."
Sherlock sees the subtle shift in John and a moment later feels a hand on his thigh.
Phillip takes a moment, thinking, before the charismatic man returns and he looks at John. "So, tell me about going back to Wellow after all these years. That girl's daughter just ran away?"
Sherlock feels the fingers on his thigh tighten and he swallows down his instinctive reaction to John. He turns his head and watches his husband take a deep breath and listens as he begins to recount the events of the their trip there. It's different to hear him explain it to Phillip, someone who had been there for portions of it and who had been one of the few people on John's side. If nothing else, Sherlock is thankful for that.
Sherlock sees the bathroom light go off and hears John head into the bedroom. He marks his place in the book and sets it aside. He settles his hands on his lap and waits. A moment later John walks into the room and smiles at him. He takes his watch off and sets it on the dresser.
Sherlock admires him for a moment. John isn't wearing a shirt, he's wearing the bottoms from the cobalt blue pyjamas Sherlock bought a few months ago. They are Sherlock's current favorites because of what they do to his eyes. It isn't noticeable when he doesn't have the top on, but Sherlock prefers no top.
John stops at the end of the bed and meets his husband's eyes. "You liked him," he says.
Sherlock tries not to frown at the idea of Phillip being discussed in their bedroom. "He was tolerable."
John chuckles at that putting a knee on the bed. "I know better than that," he brings the other leg up placing it on the other side of Sherlock. "You liked him," John says as he begins to climb up his husband. Sherlock doesn't move, but John notices the pupils dilate. "You liked him and you don't like that you liked him."
Sherlock finally moves his hands as John settles on his lap, pressing his chest into the detectives. Sherlock feels the soft material of the pyjamas under his hands as he settles his long fingers on his husband's thighs. He digs his thumbs into his husband's hips bones and sighs as John settles on him.
"As I said, his company was not completely distasteful. I don't wish to speak about him right now though."
"No?" John says leaning over to place a kiss on Sherlock's lips. He darts his tongue out and traces along Sherlock's top lip, he pulls back when Sherlock tries to take more. "What would you like to speak about right now?"
Sherlock moves his hands back, sliding them under the waistband of John's bottoms. He gives his husband's ass a quick squeeze. "How about, 'Will these pants be coming off soon?'"
"Yes," John says. "Conversation over."
Sherlock chuckles and stretches his neck up. John pulls back refusing to kiss his husband.
"I am a little concerned, about your attraction to Phillip," John says. Sherlock pulls back but sees the humour in John's eyes. "You said at the restaurant that he was 'attractive and charming and appears to be of passable intelligence' from you that is high praise, I doubt you've ever said that about me."
Had John really doubted he would have reacted differently, but he confirms the humour and flirtation and then responds.
"Well, John, you are not of passable intelligence." John's eyebrow shoots up and Sherlock grins. The detective leans forward again, but John pulls back. Sherlock sighs with fake indignation, "Clearly your intelligence is far beyond passable. I wouldn't consent to your daily presence if it were otherwise."
John laughs and bends down kissing his husband again. He lets Sherlock deepen it this time and groans when Sherlock grabs his cheeks and forces him sideways. A second later John is underneath his husband, wrapping his legs around the pale hips.
Sherlock pulls on John's right arm. John lets him bring it up, this has become a familiar gesture over the last two weeks. He looks at the scar on the elbow, healed now, but still with a red tinge. It won't leave much of a mark, but Sherlock will always know where it is. He places his lips against it, then darts his tongue against the new, too-smooth skin.
He lets the arm drop then and shifts against his husband. John groans as Sherlock's abdomen drags across his growing erection. It makes the detective smile as he brings his face even with his husband's and presses a kiss against the tip of his nose.
"I love you, Sherlock Holmes," John says and Sherlock smiles as he moves to his husband's neck. John turns his head giving him more room.
"I love you," he mumbles against the skin between kisses. He feels John relax underneath him. And as his husband lets out a quiet moan, Sherlock is quietly thankful, not for the first time, the John picked him.